MANILA -- Upset by the failure of Canada to get back containers of trash it dumped in the Philippines in 2013, President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to pay a private shipping company that will return the garbage to the North American country, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
The Canadian government had earlier committed to shoulder the expenses of shipping out the waste, but failed to meet the May 15 deadline set by Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has decided to take matters in his own hands and let the Philippine government spend on the shipment following the delay.
“As a result of this offending delay, the President has instructed the appropriate office to look for a private shipping company which will bring back Canada's trash to the latter's jurisdiction,” said Panelo in a Palace briefing.
“The government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses. And we do not mind,” he added, stressing that the search for a private shipping company is already being carried out.
Panelo said if Canada refused to take their trash back, Philippine government will be forced to take seriously the President’s earlier pronouncement to dump the waste on their shores.
“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country's shores,” Panelo said.
Panelo said the President is “upset” about the delay “extremely disappointed” that Canada has yet to give a clear timeline as to when it would retrieve it's trash.
“You must remember the deadline was May 15 and thereafter no word from it. He just says he will do something about it. I think we’re just being given the runaround,” Panelo said.
“Their pronouncements are neither here nor there. There is no definite position when they will take back the trash and the President is so upset about this. It’s been there for five years,” he added.
According to the spokesperson, it seemed like Canada is not taking the Philippines seriously, which is an insult to Filipinos.
“The President's stance is principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations. We hope this message resonates well with the other countries of the world,” Panelo said.
Panelo said the President will stand pat on his decision, noting that any head of state could so easily order the trash to be shipped out.
“The President has already made his position. He in fact even said he will declare war so that’s how annoyed he is. Every Filipino should really feel insulted by this trash staying with us for five years and any head of state can just get that within a week, within a few days,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo assured that Filipino workers in Canada will not be affected by the trash row between the two countries.
Asked if the President is also prepared to sever ties with the North American country, Panelo said: “I think that is going to that direction.”
Canada has yet to respond to the Palace announcement. (PNA)